Last Sunday was my Birthday-Observed, the weekend day when Chuck made a wonderful homemade birthday dinner (with cake!) for me and we opened presents and cards from each other. What could be better than a festive sangria to help celebrate the occasion?
I chose three-berry basil rose sangria to pair with our lamb chops and lemony cake, guessing that this would be light and a little tart, cutting through any heaviness in the meat, and playing well with the sour lemon flavors in the cake. I think it worked!
The exciting ingredient for this sangria was Drambuie, a liquor combining Scotch whisky, honey, and an ultra-secret combination of herbs and spices. The recipe called for a half-cup each of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, which was conveniently accomplished by buying a bag of frozen mixed berries at Trader Joe’s. I think fresh berries would have been prettier, but the frozen ones worked well flavor-wise.
Like the first sangria, the steps are pretty simple: combine fruit (and basil) in a pitcher, add liquors (Drambuie and Brandy), then add a bottle of wine (in this case, a dry Spanish rose); refrigerate for several hours, and add sparkling water just before serving.
I mixed up the sangria in the morning, and when I tasted it in the afternoon it was a little too tart, so I mixed up some honey-flavored simple syrup: one half-cup water, one half-cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar, and two tablespoons honey, brought to a boil and then simmered for about 5 minutes.
I felt like the basil flavor got a little lost in the sangria, but adding the sprig of basil as garnish really brought out the flavor. Adding about two teaspoons of the honey syrup also helped perk up the flavor. Overall, this was a nice, refreshing sangria – not as rich and luscious as the cherry-fig sanrgia, but something that would be welcome with a light meal any time of year – I think it would be an especially good brunch sangria.